The Socialist, Edwin Madunagu @ 70 BY Ajiroghene J. Oreh

THE Nigerian socialist movement, or the Nigerian community of radicals is still very much relevant. The body, or better put, the Left movement is made up of women and men of calibre. Extraordinary women and men with revolutionary and regenerative ideas needed in the revamping of the ailing nation-space, we call Nigeria. It is appropriate at this point to reel the names of these distinguished socialists and Marxists whose revolutionary and socialist credentials via books, pamphlets, biographies, monographs, essays, unionism, public lectures, interviews and other media bestride generations and geography. Members of the pantheon are Ola Oni, Mayirue Kolagbodi, Eskor Toyo, Essien Udom, Segun Osoba, Bade Onimode, Omafume Onoge, Bala Usman, Baba Oluwide, Ikenna Nzimiro, Chimere Ikoku, Kole Omotoso, Yomi Ferreira, Okwudiba Nnoli, Biodun Jeyifo, Laoye Sanda, Edwin Madunagu, Femi Osofisan, Omolara Ogundipe-Leslie, G.G. Darah, Ropo Sokeni, Funso Akingbade, Festus Iyayi, Tunde Fatunde, Yemi Ogunbiyi, Odia Ofiemun, Idowu Awopetu, Tanure Ojaide, Bode Sowande, Olu Obafemi. I must mention the radical Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola- who is renowned for his radical political ideology to the masses. Some of these radicals have long and recently gone the way of all mortals, while the rest are still much around, preaching the gospel of Marxist humanism of Saint Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Saint Frederick Engels (1820-1895) to all tribes and tongues. Their message is that of revolutionary ‘change’. A change they firmly believed will engender the fall or collapse of capitalism in our proverbial country. This collapse would be replaced with Socialism that will occasion a just and egalitarian society where life will be live to its fullest devoid of stress and distress in Nigeria currently. Again, this is in line with the prophesy of Saint Marx and Saint Engels in their canonical text, the Manifesto of the Communist Party or the Communist Manifesto, that “Workers of the all world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains”. That historical document was published in the historical year, 1845. The recourse to Marxism and Socialism in the 1970s and 1980s were apt. These were the decades after Nigeria’s independence; a time when there was a mad rush by the ruling elites and the bourgeois to amass wealth by all means humanly and spiritually possible. This time coincided with oil boom! The wretched of the earth of Nigeria became vanquished. There exist a great gap between the haves and the haves-not. Thus, Edwin Madunagu and his comrades chose a life struggle with the victims and the oppressed segment of Nigeria. They became instant women and men of the masses. In all their interventions, writings, activities, one encounters the “solid stamp of proletarian and ideological sophistication”. They held rallies, symposia, etc for the oppressed. They brought to bear in their various endeavours revolutionary approaches and praxis that have left, or have lasting impact. In the altruistic and regenerative endeavor, literature, the likes of Omafume Onoge, Biodun Jeyifo, Omolara Ogundipe-Leslie, Femi Osofisan, G.G. Darah, Niyi Osundare and others rescued African literature from the state of victim of “ideological orphanage”, from the lack of commitment to any ideological cause by African Creative Writers of the first generation. Edwin Ikechukwu  Madunaga born on May 15, 1946 is one of the most committed Marxists and socialists. He is unapologetically a Marxist. In all the Left movement’s activities and struggles, Edwin Madunagu remained fervent and resolute. He is an ardent believer of socialism- the belief that everyone has an equal right to a share of a country’s wealth… This he believed is the panacea of our nation’s legion of problems. This cause, he has committed his life, time and resource to since 1973 when he declared himself a Marxist and a Socialist. Edwin Madunagu is well known for his application of Marxian praxis to the teaching of Mathematics, his forte, after he bagged a BS, MSC and Ph.D in Mathematics from Nigerian premier Universities, the University of Ibadan and the University of Lagos. Away from the academia, the Marxist Mathematician, Professor Edwin Madunagu is a prolific columnist. Since he joined The Guardian newspaper in 1985, he has been engaging the Nigerian society with weekly reflections of the state of the nation. In his profound column every Thursday on The Guardian, Professor  Madunagu dialectically examines the contradictions inherent in neo-colonial Nigeria and proffers revolutionary alternatives. The socialists in Nigeria are aging. The regenerative and redemptive ideas and visions that the country needs to move forward resides in them. It is apt, we consult, and read, read them more. For now, let’s celebrate the socialist, Professor Edwin Madunagu for joining the club of Septuagenarians.

Oreh, writes from DELSU, Abraka.

 

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